Use Solar Path Lights To Light Up A Walkway And Some Facts About Solar Energy

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I have made the decision to install solar path lights to replace the low voltage Malibu lights I’ve had for almost 20 years. I have an entrance walkway from the driveway to the front door of my house. It is pretty dark on that walkway at night, and I wouldn’t want anyone to stumble and fall.

Solar Energy Is A Fasinating Subject


Solar energy is a fascinating subject, and I must admit I have limited knowledge about just the way this whole process works. The sun is such a powerful asset. Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity. I am seeing more and more solar panels on residences in order to harness the energy from the sun to heat water in the home. I am told these panels are expensive initially to install; however, I’m told that the system should pay for itself after several years in the way of reduced electricity bills.


In my community, we have street lights that come on at dark automatically and go off at dawn. These are solar street lights. Since they are not dependent on electricity, I’ m sure they are more economical to operate for the county. They require NO maintenance.

Using the energy from the sun also enables us to "go green"!

We Begin The Trouble Shooting Process


The Malibu lights along my walkway went out a few nights ago. I checked the transformer and the timer and they seemed to be working fine. I had to trouble shoot further. This was not going to be easy, and I knew that before I began. My teen age son owes me a big chore because I bought him a new game for his computer. He isn’t fond of working out in the hot 90 degree sun, so I agreed to wait until the sun went down and it was cooler to begin digging.


We started the troubleshooting process by digging up the wiring and inspecting it in three foot sections. I thought if the wire had been cut by the lawn man trimming the grass that part could be repaired. When I first installed the Malibu lighting, I dug the wiring down about six inches, so I didn’t really think that would be the problem. After digging up the entire length of wiring, we could find no cuts. We discovered the wiring was very brittle. The wiring actually broke when we dug it up! has been in the ground for almost 20 years. That has to be the problem. I have an electrical outlet on my front porch, but I had a big job running the wiring from underneath the front porch out to where I wanted the lights to begin going down the path. Then I dug a ditch going out to where I wanted the lights to start. It took me about 3 days working on this project.

The Old Low Voltage Lights

The old brittle low voltage lights and wiring.
The old brittle low voltage lights and wiring. | Source


When I first installed the Malibu path lights, I not only had to purchase the string of lights, but I had to buy a transformer to convert the high voltage electricity currency into low voltage. The transformer cost about $45.00 and the lights cost another $50.00.

Over time, a light would go out here and there. I’d have to replace the bulb. The plastic bulb cover would be damaged by the harsh sunlight and crack and break. Ants would go down into the fixture and cause the light to go out. Each fixture had a plastic top to keep rainwater out. With kids and dogs playing in the yard, the tops would get damaged and have to be replaced occasionally. I would say over the years, I have probably spent another $100.00 on bulbs, replacement bulb covers and tops for the fixtures.

The Top Of A Solar Light

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Time For A Big Decision


Now, I had to make a big decision: Do I replace my Malibu lights with a new set? Do I replace my Malibu lights with new solar lights? The solar light is just a portable light fixture that is composed of a bulb, a solar panel (to harness the energy from the sun), and a rechargeable battery.


There are so many types of outdoor solar lights. When I was shopping for path lights I saw solar garden lamps that are used for decoration, and come in a wide variety of designs. I saw some that are holiday-themed and some even came in animal shapes. These lights are frequently used to mark areas around swimming pools or any part of the yard that you want some light.

Solar lamps recharge during the day. At dusk they turn on and remain illuminated overnight, depending on how much sunlight they receive during the day. Discharging time is generally 8 to 10 hours.
Solar lights do not provide as much light as a line-powered lighting system, but they are easily installed and maintained, and provide a cheaper alternative to wired lamps.

On the other hand, I can get a whole new Malibu light system for about $75.00. I won’t have to buy a new transformer and timer because I have the old ones. Then, I remembered what a pain it was to keep replacing burned out light bulbs, and the plastic housing that was forever cracking and falling apart, and I made the decision to go with the solar lights.

Energy From The Sun

I was fortunate to grow up in the country on a farm. We did not have electricity until I was about 12 years old. We depended on the energy from the sun in many ways.

Even as a child, I knew what solar energy was. We just didn't have a name for it. My Mother used the warmth from the sun to heat my bathwater. It would take all day on a nice sunny day, but by nighttime I could take a nice warm bath.

We used solar energy to dry our clothes. I grew up hanging the family laundry out to dry. Until my husband and I could afford a clothes dryer, I hung my baby's diapers on the line to dry. I still remember frozen diapers in the wintertime.

My fellow Hubber http://molometer.hubpages.com/ tells me that in South Africa, all new homes must be built with solar energy. Wouldn't it be nice if the United States did the same? We would all have lower electricity bills. That is a big chuck of my household budget!

Solar Hot Water Advertisement From 1902

Advertisement for solar hot water out West:  1902
Advertisement for solar hot water out West: 1902 | Source

Solar Panels On The Roof Of A Laundromat

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A Solar Trash Compactor

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I Purchased 18 Solar Lights



I purchased 18 solar lights for $2.98 each for a total of $53.64 plus sales tax. Each light is so simple to install. I wanted each light to be four feet apart. I found a broken hoe handle that I’ve been saving that was just the right length. We laid that out on the ground to assure the lights would be spaced correctly. The stake that comes with the light and the light assembly is pushed into the ground. Since I had already had the trench dug that was used for the old wiring, the soil was nice and soft and easy to push the stakes into the ground. The entire job took my son and me about one hour to complete.

I could have done this job all by myself very easily. My son is not used to manual labor. The most exercise he gets is moving his thumbs to text on his phone, and to type on the keyboard at his computer. He moved pretty slow on this job!

My Walkway After Solar Lights Are Installed

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The Solar Lights Are Beautiful!


It was about 3:00 p.m. by the time we finished our project. I hoped the lights would get enough sunlight to cause the lights to come on after dark! Sure enough, as soon as it was dark, I was amazed! I looked, and each one was beaming out a star shaped light about three feet in diameter. What a sight! I called my son to come out and look. He stopped playing his computer game long enough to admire our work. I called my neighbor to come over and take a look. One of my daughters came by and was so impressed. Now she wants to put solar lights all around her flower garden.

The Solar Lights After Dark

The light extends about three feet in diameter.
The light extends about three feet in diameter. | Source
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A Solar Light Near My Water Fountain

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Solar Light In Flower Pot

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I Made A Wise Decision To Install Solar Lights


I don’t know how long each of these lights will function. I’ll just have to wait and see. Other people who have these lights tell me they get about eight months of wear out of them. I’ll be happy if I get six months of enjoyment from mine. I think I will go back to the store and buy six extra lights now while I can still get matching ones.


I believe I made a wise choice by installing the solar lights along my walkway. I just love to sit on my front porch at night, look at the moon, and enjoy the solar lights we installed. Even my son was impressed with our project. When I look at these solar lights, I can’t help but wonder why we don’t harness the energy from the sun more than we do? It seems like such a waste, especially here in Florida where we have so many sunny days. When I can afford to do so, I’ll put solar panels on the roof of my house to heat my water, and dry my clothes!

I am so pleased with how these lights look, I have now put one by my water fountain. It really looks nice at night. I am still experimenting with this one....do I like the solar light better in the ground OR in a flower pot? What do you think?

If you have any dark spots in your yard or if you have a walkway that should be well lit at night instead of being dark and dangerous, I’d encourage you to install some solar path lights.



Buy name brand Solar Lights for your path

After seeing how nice my solar lights looked on my path, one of my daughters decided to install some along her pathway. She went to a "dollar store", and bought 10 cheap solar lights at a fraction of the cost of mine. Within three weeks, hers stopped working and had to be replaced.

I bought a name brand at a major home improvement store. Mine have been installed for almost three months, and not one of them has stopped working.

So, my advice is: Invest in good named brand lights to begin with. They will last much longer.

Would you like to install solar lights in your yard?

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Comments 58 comments

ignugent17 profile image

ignugent17 4 years ago

Very useful and your pictures are beautiful too. I put my solar lights around my garden. Thanks for the information.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Good Morning ignugent. Nice to see you so bright and early today! Thanks for the nice compliment on my Hub.

Don't you just love the solar lights. I would never go back to the low voltage lights again!

Thanks for reading and commenting. Mary


josh3418 profile image

josh3418 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

Mary,

Very informative hub Mary! My sister is very much into gardening and she kives these solar lights. I do not much about them so thanks for all the useful information. Have a great day Mary!


Angelo52 profile image

Angelo52 4 years ago from Central Florida

Nice article on outdoor lights and solar. The push in solar lights sound better than the wired lights and they seem cheap enough to replace if someone walks away with one.


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

This is so cute! You go the extra mile with your hubs dear! Solar energy is catching up with the fun series from "star trek" or "deep space nine." Just a few HOURS ago a rover, named curiosity landed on Mars, and will rely on solar energy to survive on the red planet. Nice walkway entrance you have Mary. Hope to see them change to red, green and gold for this christmas. Thanks for the article! Nice history and research. Have a great day Mary ...!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Very nice, informative hub on solar lights for a walkway or garden! I'm with you on the ease of installation and maintenance. I really loved your personal story - gave this hub a nice touch.

All the best, Steph


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Mary,

What an interesting hub about the installation of solar lights along the walkway of your home. What type of batteries do they take? The initial cost is certainly inexpensive enough and depending upon what type of batteries need replacing, this is surely a green approach to keeping one's place illuminated for beauty and for safety. I really like the idea of using solar energy.

I grew up helping my mother hang wash out on the line for drying. It wasn't until some time in the 1960s that they got a clothes dryer but she still hung many things out on a clothesline. That fresh air smell just cannot be beat!

Voted up, useful, interesting and will share. Thanks!


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Josh3418. Thanks for reading about how I replaced my low voltage lights with solar lights. I'm glad to hear your sister likes these solar lights too. I just fell in love with them.

Mary


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Angleo, One of the great features of these solar lights is they are so economical. I picked up 4 extras in case I might need them.

Thanks for reading. Mary


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Lord, I hadn't heard about that rover landing on Mars. That sounds really interesting. I do believe we should use the energy from the sun more than we do. It's such a waste not to use solar energy. You just gave me an idea...at Chrismastime, I'll put red and green light bulbs in my solar lights! That would be so pretty.

See you again, soon, Mary


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi stephhicks68. Did you notice the link to your great Hub? My neighbor has solar panels to heat her water, and she really likes that.

Thanks for reading and commenting, yes it was an easy job to replace my low voltage lights with the solar lights.

Mary


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Peggy W Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment on my Hub on solar lights. I'm not sure how long the batteries will last in the lights. They get recharged by the sun, but I really don't know for how long. Guess I'll find out, huh???

I think more and more people will begin to use solar energy or at least I hope so. I intend to!

Thanks for the votes, and the share, Mary


molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago

Hello Mary,

You made the right decision to install these solar path lights along your walkway. It makes so much sense and they were very reasonably priced.

Before I left South Africa. New regulations came into force that all new homes must be fully solar. It's a no-brainer in a country with so much sunshine.

Well done for writing this well written and researched hub. Voted up and 4/5 buttons. Sharing this too.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Had no idea you were so handy, mary. Perhaps this is the start of a new part-time career for you - installing solar lights for your neighbors and friends. You did a remarkable job, m'dear.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I have some and I just love them. Your Hub is awesome. Also, have you seen the little solar toys? They are bobbing flowers and such. People are putting them on their dashboards and window sills!


rick combe profile image

rick combe 4 years ago from USA

I bought some solar lights about two years ago. Like you said, they didn't burn that bright, but they worked well enough. Mine all lasted for a little over a year, but by that time they had become very dim. Still, they're cheap to replace. Great article!


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi molometer, your information on the homes in S. Africa being solar is really interesting. I'd like to go in and edit my Hub to mention that and credit you with telling me that. It will certainly add to my Hub. I've often wondered why the US seems to lag behind other countries in so many ways: medical, etc.

Thanks so much for the votes and the share, Mary


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, drbj. Thanks for reading. Your suggestion that I help put solar lights in my neighbor's yards is a good one; however you don't have to be very smart to install these lights! That's why they are so popular, you just stick them in the ground (and that's why I could do this job).

Thanks for reading and the nice compliment on my Hub.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi rebeccamealey. No! I haven't heard of solar toys! I'll have to research that. I am so into solar energy now. The more I learn about it, the more I want to learn. We really should be taking more advantage of the sun.

It's so nice to see you today, Mary


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Rick, thanks for reading about my solar lights. Glad to know how long yours lasted. If mine last for a year, I'll be happy. It is still not clear to me how long the battery is going to last. If the battery is charged by the sun, you would think it would last forever, but I know that won't be the case.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

I have been thinking about solar lights for a year now and just never got motivated. Now thanks to you I shall get it done. Thanks for all of the information on solar power too. I believe we all should be using it.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Good Morning, Hyphenbird. How nice to see you today. I'm so happy if I have motivated you to get those path lights installed. I wish more people depended on solar energy. It is a natural resource that isn't being used like it should.

Thanks for reading and commenting. My best, Mary


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

I'll check these out the next time I am in a Home Depot store. They probably say on the package what type of batteries they take. If they last 6 to 8 months or so without having to be changed, that would be good.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Peggy W The little battery that came with the light just says "rechargable battery". They are about the size of a AA battery My question is: if the battery recharges, you would think it would last forever, right???

My neighbor has lights like this and hers are over a year old. She has never replaced a battery. Mary


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi mary, they are such a great idea, my brother had some in his last house, the garden looked lovely, and even though he placed them there in the winter they still stayed really bright at night! he had them for about 4 years I believe, but not sure if he changed anything in them, I don't think so, yes they are a good thing to have especially because they are powered by the sun and you can't get better than that, great hub and really interesting too, nell


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, Nell Rose. Nice to see you! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my Hub on solar lights. I am so pleased with these lights. I wish I had done this long before now.

Thanks for the compliment on my Hub. Glad you thought it was interesting.

Goodnight, Mary


furniturez profile image

furniturez 4 years ago from Washington

I'm always a fan of decorative items with functionality and that's exactly what these are. In the daytime they act as lawn decorations in a sense, a pathway just looks much more complete with lighting even if they're not illuminated. Of course at night you can't live without them!


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, furniturez. Thanks for reading and commenting on my Hub about solar lights. I agree these lights do serve as decoration during the day and nice lightning at night. I am really enjoying mine. Mary


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

We have these lights around our backyard walkway and they add to setting but also provide some security through their light. Great hub and so helpful.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, teaches12345, nice to see you today! I am so glad I installed these lights; they really add to my walkway. Now, I'm just looking around to see where else I can use them!

I see you are in the Apprentice Program. Good luck. I admire you for doing that!


midget38 profile image

midget38 4 years ago from Singapore

Beautiful, Mary, and economical ! Kudos to your patience in making your home a beautiful place to live in. Wish these were more readily available, as my hubby and I would be the first patrons. thanks for the write, voted and shared, tweeted.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, midget38. Thanks for reading and for the nice compliment. These path lights are available here in the U.S. all over. Now you can buy multi-colored lights that are really pretty.

Thanks so much for the votes and the shares, I appreciate that! Mary


L.L. Woodard profile image

L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City

We have the outdoor solar lighting at our home. I was amazed at the affordability of the solar light fixtures and even happier they would light the way without adding $ to my electric bill.

As an aside, I was reading something the other day that suggests bringing those solar lights indoors during a power outage. Much safer than candles and reliable.

Voted up and shared.


Justsilvie 4 years ago

Very Helpful Hub! We have them around our front walkway and I love the soft lighting, but you have giving me some great ideas to use them in other places.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, L.L. Woodard. Thanks for reading and for the comment. That's interesting that you can bring the solar lights inside during a power outage. Guess it would depend on how much sun they got during the day as to how much light they would provide. One of my daughters gave me some other solar path lights recently that change color! They are so pretty.

Thanks for the votes and the share, Mary


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, Justsilvie. I'm so glad you found my Hub on solar path lights helpful. Yes, you can just put them anywhere where they will get sunlight during the day.

Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary


healthwealthmusic profile image

healthwealthmusic 4 years ago from Everywhere Online ~ Fingerlakes ~ Upstate New York

I love solar lights and small lights along a path, flowerbed or garden. If I had my dream come true, I would have solar power for most of my lights and heat in my house. The sun is so powerful, why not harness some of that power? Awesome hub, voted up :)


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, healthwealthmusic. I totally agree...the sun is such a powerful energy source. If I could afford it, I would put solar panels on my roof to heat the water.

Thanks for reading and for the vote, Mary


StephSev108 profile image

StephSev108 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Very useful. I voted up.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, StephSev108. Thank so much for reading and commenting on my Hub about using solar path lights.

I'm happy you found the information useful, and thanks for the vote. Mary


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

My neighbor has solar path lights and each day I look at them and think how nice they are and I'm going to install some. This thought has been going on for 5 years. Maybe, just maybe I'll tend to that task this year. Thank you Mary for the push. I hope! :)


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, Sunshine625. I have been so pleased with my solar lights, and I know you would be pleased after you installed them, too. It is so easy to do, and it's one of those projects you can stand back and admire.

Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA

I love the idea of using solar power rather than lights powered by electricity. The solar garden lights are so pretty, and they're cheap, too! Your walkway lighting system so attractive, and best of all, the light is directed to the walk rather than the sky. Thanks so much for adding a link to my hub on solar powered gadgets! I appreciate it!


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

I like the energy and environment saving nature of these lights. Coming in again to share!!


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, Stephanie Henkel. I have really enjoyed my solar path lights. There is such a wide selection on the market right now. They are "catching on". I do like mine because of the star pattern they make when they are lit. You are most welcome for the link: your Hub is very informative. I'd like to see more people use solar energy.

Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida Author

Hi midget38. Thanks so much for coming back to my Hub on solar path lights. I still like mine very much.

Hope you have a wonderful day, and thanks again for the share! Mary


picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 3 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

Really informative hub, Mary. I wish I could afford solar panels for my house, and maybe one day I will. If politics weren't involved, I think we would have been harnessing the sun for most of our power a long time ago.

Don't know why I don't get notice of your hubs any more. Had to go looking for you .


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, picklesandrufus. So good to see you! Thanks for reading and commenting on my solar lights Hub. I am still enjoying them and it's been about 6 months since I installed them. Yes, it is a shame we don't harness the sun more than we do.

I used to get notices of all my follower's Hub. I still get some, but not all. About every two weeks or so, I go into "my followers" and see when they published last; otherwise I wouldn't know. Let's don't lose touch again. Glad you found me. I'd better go and check to see if I've missed some of your stuff.

Goodnight, Mary


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

It sounds like solar lights are a great choice for your home in sunny Florida! It's nice your son owed you a favor so he could take out the old wiring and install the new lights. I've heard of this type of light and now I know I would also choose them if I had a pathway that needed lighting. Very interesting! Thank you!


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, vespawoolf. Nice to see you today! I really enjoy my solar lights. I know you would too if you only had a pathway, ha.ha.

Thank you so much for reading and for the nice compliment, Mary


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

We have solar water heater and solar lamps in our home. Perhaps we should install solar lights in our garden. Thanks for sharing this fantastic idea.


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida Author

Good Morning, Vinaya Ghimire. Good for you! If I could afford to have solar panels istalled on my roof, I would certainly heat my water and other things in my home. I think all new homes should have these panels installed. I like these lights in my garden wherever they will get full sun all day.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Mary


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 3 years ago from North-East UK

Mary, very interesting - and topical for me, I am pondering whether to ger solar lights for my garden at the moment; it could do with some lights out there just for when we are still outside after bbq times (rare!). I think the way yo went through how to do it is the way to go, no snap judgements - but boy there are so many different types of solar lights, I am befuddled!


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Jools99. I think you would enjoy solar lights for your garden. I know, there is a vast selection out there now. You will certainly find a design you like. As long as you place them in the sun, you'll be fine.

I saw some the other day in Home Depot that actually change colors at night!

My best, Mary


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

I have always wanted to install solar lights in my farmhouse, but have been unable to install because of high price of the solar panels. Thanks for sharing your instructions and designs.


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Vinaya Ghimire. The solar panels are very expensive here in the US, too. I think more prople (including me) would install them on our roof tops. I do have friend who installed them on the roof while constructing their house. They heat their water, their house, dry their clothes, etc. using solar energy.

We have so many sunny days here in S. Fl. it seems a shame that we don't harvest more of that solar energy.

At least the path lights are inexpensive, I enjoy mine a lot.

Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 22 months ago from Home Sweet Home

Oh i have seen these lamps, so these are solar


mary615 profile image

mary615 22 months ago from Florida Author

Hi, peachpurple I have really enjoyed my solar path lights. They are so much better than the old electrical ones in so many ways. I'd like to see more and more people turning to solar energy. Mary

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